A new study published by UK-based consultancy WSP Group has identified what it claims are the “greenest” smartphone applications. The list features sustainability-focused apps such as Seafood Watch and Freecycle, as well as some of the most widely used apps in the world, including eBay, Skype, and Google Maps. The top 10 performers are:
1. eBay 6. Google Maps
2. Kindle 7. Freecycle + Trash Nothing
3. GoodGuide 8. Airbnb
4. Skype 9. Moovit
5. Seafood Watch 10. CityMapper
The apps that did the best under WSP’s scoring system were those that facilitated the use of public transport, reduced fuel use and waste, allowed consumers to identify green products, or swapped material for electronic consumption. The green intentions of these companies are generally irrelevant. In fact, most of the apps on the list purely seek to make the users lives easier in some way or another, and as a byproduct enhance sustainability.
As smartphones applications become more imbedded in our daily lives, their sustainability repercussions will continue to be scrutinized. This study certainly indicates the potential that apps have in lowering an environmental footprint. However, more research is needed to make a deeper assessment of how they impact behavior and can be leveraged to increase sustainability.